Low Impact Exercises for Seniors and Beginners

Written by Ari ParkerUpdated: Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Joint stiffness and pain is common as we age. In fact, about 1 in 4 adults have diagnosed arthritis. Low impact exercises can help seniors (and others suffering from joint issues) maintain or improve their cardio health without a significant risk of soreness and injuries. With a number of resources on the internet, settling on a workout routine can be a challenge, which is why we’ve compiled some of the best resources we could find to help you build your exercise routine with low impact movement. 

**As always, you should consult a medical professional to make sure that you are able to undertake physical exercise. If you ever feel any physical pain either before or during your exercise, please stop and consult a doctor before continuing.

If you prefer videos to help guide you through your workout, check out these two great videos featuring low impact exercises. If you're looking for steps to incorporate to your own music and routine, scroll past these videos for some inspiration!

This low impact exercise video by Meredith is great for beginners, featuring simple movements and music to keep you on beat!

This circuit training video by The Body Coach TV is slightly more advanced and has received incredibly positive reviews!

Build Your Own Low-Impact Exercise Routine

Below you will find some low impact exercises that you can fit into your daily routine. Some of these options involve well-known dance steps, so with a little music, you can have a ton of fun.

Walking (or Marching) in Place

If you love walking, then walking in place is a great exercise for a rainy day—or for a break in between more challenging exercises. Add some forward and back or side to side movement to increase your cardio effort. 

Step-Touch

The step and tap is fundamental to dance and a fantastic exercise for seniors—especially those with a little rhythm! Take a normal step with one foot, keep that foot steady, then tap the toe of your opposite foot to the ground. Next, take a normal step with the non-stable foot, stabilize it, then tap the toe of your opposite foot to the ground. The move can be done standing in place, or you could tap your toe out to the side, front, or back.

If you need a little guidance on the Step-Touch, check out this video!

Step-Heel

The step and heel is almost the exact same thing as the step and tap—but instead of tapping your non-stable foot’s toe to the ground, you tap your heel to the ground. This move is most frequently performed by tapping your heel in front. 

Punch the Air

Engage your arms by punching the air. You can punch in front of you, straight up into the air (Breakfast Club style), or out to the side. You can do this exercise while standing or marching in place. 

Demi Squats / Knee Bends

Squats are a great exercise because they allow you to go as low as you’re comfortable with. Full–depth squats can be a challenge for people with knee issues, but a slight knee bend, or demi squat, is a low impact alternative. Slowly bend your knee, just a little bit, hold for as long as you want, then slowly straighten your knees. Be careful not to lock your knees when you stand up straight to avoid hyperextension.

It's Time To Get Moving!

Pair these low impact moves with some of your favorite music and invite some friends over to make your workout fun and social! Add a little bit of bounce to the exercises, and you have yourself a dance party. Always remember to do a quick warm up before a workout and stretch after exercising to keep your muscles loose and avoid injury.

Have other steps or videos that you think should be added to this list? Just want to share photos of your workout or find support for your fitness journey? Take part in our online community for those 50 and older to connect with others, share workout photos, questions, and more! Join today.

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